January 23, 2011

Bulk view

Sketches: What index cards are teaching me about drawing

I resolved to spend less time writing and more time drawing. Today was difficult. I had too many stories to tell, too many thoughts to catch.

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My thoughts flitted about, escaped. Drawing was frustrating. I felt inarticulate. And yet, slowly, I started to be able to breathe with it.

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But then, an afternoon later, I found myself drawing.

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Most of the time, I even managed to concentrate on a project I’d been procrastinating for a while. Here is one frame that will probably become a slide:

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Another figure takes shape under my fingers.

I draw a conference badge and write down some tips. I relax by drawing a cat. Another tip or three. Another cat. The next steps. A personal goal. A networking tip. A meta-reflection.

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I love drawing on the computer because of the colours, the ease of revision, the cleanliness of the lines, and the infinity of space that I can draw on.

Today I discovered the joys in the greys of pencil on card, the smudges of erasures never completely gone, the  roughness of lines, and the constraints of a 3×5 card. And something else about the way I draw–

In snatches, in non-linear frames, like the way I hear snippets of future speeches in my imagination–

Jumping around, going where curiosity takes me. It’s like I dip in and out of watching this presentation, but it’s all jumbled up. I might say, oh, there’s a nice idea. That one too. Let’s see… oh, yes, that makes sense. And yet there’s me in this too, saying, hmm, what if there’s this? And then this? Oh, then that would mean that this would be good for this part. Now that will need revision. I’ll draw a new card. Ah, it’s slowly coming together.

I spent eight hours drawing. I can draw hands better than I did before. And bicycles. And conference tips. It was fun.

There’s more to draw and more to learn. Maybe I’ll throttle my writing further by coursing it through drawing, letting the frustration of pent-up stories drive me to increase my visual vocabulary and my drawing skills. It’ll be interesting.

Index cards. Try them out. =)